The £1 coin is to be replaced by a new model based on the old threepenny bit, George Osborne announced in the Budget. The Chancellor said that the current coin, which has been in circulation for 30 years, is no longer suitable for use because it has become vulnerable to sophisticated counterfeiters. The new 12-sided coin will be as secure as modern banknotes and will save taxpayers’ money by cutting down on millions of pounds worth of fraud. “After 30 years loyal service, the time is right to retire the current £1 coin, and replace it with the most secure coin in the world,” the Chancellor told MPs. The Royal Mint estimates that about 45m £1 coins in circulation are now forgeries. The Government expects the new coin to be introduced in 2017. As with all British coins, the Queen’s effigy will be on the “heads side”. However, there will now be a public competition to decide the design for the “tails” side of the coin.
The Treasury said: “With advances in technology making high value coins like the £1 ever more vulnerable to counterfeiters, it’s vital that we keep several paces ahead of the criminals to maintain the integrity of our currency. We are particularly pleased that the coin will take a giant leap into the future, using cutting edge British technology while at the same time paying a fitting tribute to past in the 12-sided design of the iconic threepenny bit." A source said that the new coin, which will be roughly the same size as the current £1, will still fit in supermarket trolleys, parking meters and vending machines. The threepenny bit was in circulation from 1937 until decimalisation in 1971. It replaced the old silver threepence, known as a "Joey". It was particularly popular during the Second World War, when its distinctive size and shape made it the easiest coin to recognise during blackouts. By the time of decimalisation 1.2bn of the coins had been issued for circulation.
Around 3pc of all £1 coins, of 45 million in circulation, are now forgeries up from 1pc or 15 million a decade ago. Most of us only discover we have one when we go to put them in a parking meter and find they are rejected, others are more obvious. The pound coin, made from a mixture of copper, zinc and nickel, was introduced in April 1983 to replace the £1 note. Fake coins are largely made of lead and then sprayed with gold paint. This means that the weight often feels different to genuine pound coins and the surfaces are notably different. The Royal Mint advises that the warning signs are:
· The date and design on the reverse do not match (the reverse design is changed each year).
· The lettering or inscription on the edge of the coin does not correspond to the right year.
· Orientation of the obverse and reverse designs is not in line.
The Mint said the new 12-sided coins will be made from two different coloured metals – as yet to be decided – and contain an "iSIS security feature". This is to do with the Integrated Secure Identification System developed by the Mint. It applies this existing security technology "that has been proven over decades in banknotes" to coins for the first time. Those are the only details released. The coins will enter circulation in 2015.
A famous scandal surrounded the £1 coin causing a major diplomatic incident with the Kingdom of Swaziland. The current King of Swaziland is pictured above with one of his 15 wives as he attended a recent Royal event with the Queen. Back in the early 1980s, the then monarch King Sobahuza II (pictured below) wanted to celebrate more than a decade on the throne of Swaziland. A keen salesman from the Royal Mint identified an opportunity of using spare capacity following the recent launch of the £1 coin in Britain. Using the £1 blank with a creative design of the King’s head would surely produce a fitting tribute to his glorious reign, especially when the £1 coin was the heaviest (and therefore the most weighty) coin in circulation in the world!!
Well the deal was done, and the coin was produced, and the King was greatly pleased at this superb commemoration of his remarkable reign. All was fine until some intrepid entrepreneur boarded a South African jet bound for London with several bags of the Royal Coin. Given the value was less than 10p, it was not long before these Swazi coins turned up in considerable numbers in cigarette vending machines all over the UK!! In the end the “great lady” Margaret Thatcher - who was then Prime Minister – had to be dispatched to persuade King Sobahuza to recall the original coin and substitute a different design in Swaziland that could not be used as a counterfeit in Britain. It was never revealed what “Maggie” had to offer to secure the deal……..but diplomatic relations do seem to have been successfully re-established. The new King (above) looks even more prosperous than his predecessor (below)!!??
There were none of the male Members who were brave enough to turn up with one of their 15 wives to play at the Oxshott Bridge Club last night but - with Table Money remaining at £2 per head - it had to be a bargain whether in old money or new coins!! We had 12 full Tables competing in Round 5 of the Tilling Trophy. You can read all about last night's action in the Report by clicking on the "Competitions" tab in the Menu to the left of this box. Alternatively you can review the full Leaderboard and study the enhanced Travellers by clicking on the "Latest Result" button above. Of course all the Competition Tables have been updated to include last night's results, so you can find out the latest Standings in the Tilling Trophy after Round 5.